“My mother was mad. She was also beautiful and charming. To the world she was an eccentric delight but behind closed doors she was a nightmare. Everyone and especially my father, allowed her carte blanche to do as she pleased. She was brutal to my brother and I – screaming and crying and locking herself in her room. We would sit outside her bedroom door and wonder what we should do or did that had her lock herself away. Then my younger brother was born and for some reason she loved him. I am convinced that she loved neither my older brother or I but the sun shone for her the day my younger brother was born. Sue, you would not believe the difference between him and the two of us.
Today I understand that my mother was a narcissist. It is a form of madness. They think of themselves in grandiose ways and have a desperate and arrogant need for affirmation all day. The slightest criticism will set off an uncontrollable rage and despair. Their compliments are sugar-coated arsenic. She had no capacity for empathy at all and my brother and I were her captive audience. Our job was to clap and serve. Today I know that it is a type of personality disorder and typically the narcissistic mother will select her “golden child” at the expense of the others. We were dispensable, commodities not family. As children, however, what we knew was that we were unlovable and unattractive, stupid and a nuisance. What we were given to believe is that we should be grateful for any sign of affection as we were clearly unworthy. We understood that we would labor long and hard for any love that might come our way and that under no circumstances could we experience that love as dependable or enduring. If nothing else my brother and I were good students and we learnt well and understood that completely – and married accordingly.
Narcissus was a Greek mythological figure. He was proud and beautiful and disdainful of all those who loved him. He was lured to a pool of water and was so captivated by the reflection of himself that he couldn’t draw himself away. Eventually he drowned. Narcissism is a pathology of self-love and self obsession.
However, today I find myself married to the male version of my mother.
Well because my mother programmed me to be the perfect partner to the narcissist. I was trained to believe my opinion was worthless and that my position was one of always looking up to some-one else. I nod like a trained monkey at everything he says. I avoid his displeasure at any cost. I applaud and serve and congratulate and hide my successes because I know that any hint of success that belongs to me will set off a rage or a sulk. I watch his love affair with the mirror and am reminded of the story of Narcissus.
I read books of finding your purpose and living your purpose and I wonder if I was born to be a clapper for other people. I am the audience who whistles and stands and applauds – so that the rest of my night will be tolerable.
Sometimes I wish he would drown and then I wonder what would happen to me without this flawed and broken hero – who I have loved and hated.
Sometimes I wish I could see my mother just once more to tell her how she ruined my life even after she was gone.
Sometimes I wish that just once he would clap for me and I wouldn’t care”.